Lorentz Center - Transformations in Optics from 18 May 2015 through 22 May 2015
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    Transformations in Optics
    from 18 May 2015 through 22 May 2015


Scientific Report   


Topic and field

The topic of this workshop was the conjunction of three very active fields in the physics of light and imaging: Shaped wavefronts, Metamaterials to structure the illumination and Compressive sensing. These fields are of interest to researchers in academic and industrial settings.



The participants were a mix of four categories:

-          Well known senior research leaders

-          Junior professors and young faculty

-          Ph.D. students and postdocs

-          Researchers in an industrial setting (e.g. TNO, ASML, Zeiss)

The workshop was fully booked, with most participants staying for the full length of the event (we noticed that only by Friday there was a decline in the number of participants present). Many participants were present at the social events and “breakout” discussion sessions. It was noted that the participants from industry played a very active role in the discussion sessions and in chairing and discussing.


Program and sessions

The scientific program contained several different types of sessions:

10 Keynote lectures (40+5 min)

5 Tutorial lectures by keynote speakers (90 min)

8 Invited lectures (35+10 min)

3 Breakout discussion sessions (90 min)

1 Poster session


The total of 23 lectures is about the maximum one should schedule in a one-week workshop. Almost all lectures were very well attended and raised significant discussion. Discussion time was planned between the lectures, with the speakers requested to keep to a 40+5 minute time slot. In practice, 5 minute discussion is barely enough and most speakers tend to slightly overrun their time slot, so that it may be more effective to schedule short breaks in between the talks.


Tutorial lectures were an experiment in this workshop which worked very well. While not every tutorial lecture was accessible to all the participants, a number of participants indicated they found the tutorials an extremely useful component of the workshop. The tutorials were spread through the week, this worked well, and is probably better than having all tutorials on one day.


The coffee and tea breaks were very effective means to stimulate discussion, especially since whiteboards and tables for discussion were nicely available and posters could stay up all week.

The breakout discussion sessions were organized to start with a “break-in” where several discussion leaders (from academia and industry)  presented their possible topic. In these sessions especially the application oriented themes contributed by the industrial participants were intensively discussed. In breakout sessions some participants tend to leave the discussion. This is not a problem thanks to the offices at the Lorentz center floor.


What went well:

The tutorial lectures were a success

The participation by industrial researchers was very active

There was intensive discussion in practically all breaks

The poster session on the first day was good, especially since participants could revisit posters during the week.


What could be improved:

More small breaks to have more discussion time after talks.

Discussion sessions: More, but shorter sessions could be more productive

Total number or time of talks could be reduced to make more time for discussion.

More use could be made of the unique infrastructure of offices.


Fire alarm:

During the workshop a fire alarm went off. This led to some confusion as it was not immediately clear whether this was a test and by which route to leave the building. Thanks to the Lorentz center staff the building was evacuated quickly and in good order. However it would be good to avoid this initial confusion in case a true emergency happens.


In summary this workshop was generally regarded as a great success. Surprisingly (at least to the organizers)  some of the most useful aspects named by the participants were the background material on structured illumination and compressive sensing that was brought forward in the tutorial lectures. The workshop has brought together researchers from several very different settings and stimulated contact between academia and industry. As importantly, the participants enjoyed the excellent atmosphere and ambience of the Lorentz Center and Leiden.



Organizers: Carlo Beenakker, Allard Mosk, John Pendry